Bang on a Can’s ROAD TRIP
To celebrate 30 years of Bang on a Can, and one of the most unique, influential, and still-current artistic collaborations today, co-artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe will compose ROAD TRIP – an evening-length ‘concert spectacular’ for the electric Bang on a Can All-Stars featuring visually stunning stage and lighting design by CandyStations and director Michael Counts. The piece will be premiered at BAM’s Next Wave festival October 26-29, 2017.
To have New Music USA’s participation would be truly apropos, given our long history with its forebearers Meet the Composer and American Music Center. Both organizations were instrumental in Bang on a Can’s early years, often providing the largest gifts to our Marathon concerts in the late ’80s and through the ’90s, as well as individual commission projects through the years. This is a large project with many moving pieces, but we remain well into the red in our budget projections. New Music USA would be credited as a Lead Commissioner.
The piece is about journeys and people who make them. Physical journeys, geographical journeys, emotional journeys, spiritual journeys. Road Trip imagines an almost mythological journey across the United States, driving leisurely from place to place – the radio on, in a convertible with the top down, on the most beautiful day of the year. The upbeat celebratory music is through-composed from start to finish. Radio signals fade in and out, would-be pop ballads and surf instrumentals blend into and out of mariachi music and country and talk radio. There will be songs. The members of the ensemble will play and sing. The journey is narrated by the voice on our GPS, ever recalculating. There is a road, but it is no simple highway.
Co-composer David Lang had this to say:
“One of the amazing things about Bang on a Can is that we have been traveling together, for years, all around the world. When I think of the All-Stars I think, of course, of the great musicians and the great music, but I also have vivid memories of trying to eat late at night in Fayetteville, Arkansas, trying to be a vegetarian in Hong Kong, trying to get an espresso in Bratislava, in the mid 1990’s! To be honest, I can’t remember all the incredible the concerts but I remember every hotel that had a cool bar, every used book store and every art museum in every city we ever visited. When I think of going on the road with the band I think of the excitement, the spirit of adventure. I think of the great audiences. Most of all I think of the camaraderie among us, how happy we have been to take the show on the road. For me that is what our piece ‘Road Trip’ is all about.”
For us, this is a deeply meaningful project at a crucial time in the life of Bang. This is the way we see combining a celebration with a monumental work that can move us forward, artistically and financially.
In order to find donors and partners for Road Trip we created this informational video that includes a more in-depth description of the proposed piece and why we’re doing it now.
The music in the background is by Julia Wolfe, played by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, for our series of commissions called “Field Recordings.”
This piece, performed here by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, has become a much-requested classic of our 21st century repertoire. The band is: Ashley Bathgate, cell; Robert Black, bass; Vicky Chow, piano: David Cossin, percussion; Mark Stewart, guitars: Ken Thomson, clarinet. That lineup is the ensemble for this proposal to NMUSA.
Composer David Lang wrote this piece specifically for the group.
This work sample of “Lost Objects” is the closest in scale and personnel as we could find to the proposed Road Trip. The visual and theatrical collaborators are different, and Road Trip will have vocals but only coming from the ensemble (who are all excellent singers as well as players).
The show in this video was part of BAM’s 2005 NextWave Festival, and the theatrical staging was by Francois Girard.
Start and End Dates
10/25/2017 — 10/29/2017
Brooklyn, New York